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2014-06-19    来源:向Anne提问    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


Dear Annie:My company is putting the finishing touches on our plans and goals for 2013, and my boss, who runs the division where I am a brand manager, has given me a big, vague assignment: Make our business run "greener" in the year ahead. This will be on top of my regular job. I'm pretty excited about the possibilities (in fact, I sort of volunteered to do this), but I'm also not sure how to proceed.

We've already done most of the easy stuff, like switching from incandescent to LED lighting and recycling as many materials and supplies as we can. So my boss says he wants me to "take it to the next level." The thing is, previous efforts to shrink our environmental footprint have fallen by the wayside because people here seem to be all gung-ho at the beginning and then gradually lose interest. Do you or your readers have any suggestions for keeping coworkers engaged in going green? — Call Me Kermit

Dear Kermit:Interesting question, and one that Vincent Stanley has pondered for the past four decades. A vice president of outdoor-gear maker Patagonia, Stanley has been with the company since its launch in 1973. He is co-author (with founder and CEO Yvon Chouinard) of a book you might want to check out,The Responsible Company: What We've Learned from Patagonia's First 40 Years.
亲爱的克米特:你提出了一个有趣的问题,这也是让文森特•斯坦利过去40年中一直苦苦思索的问题。斯坦利是户外装备生产商巴塔哥尼亚(Patagonia)的一名副总裁,自该公司1973年成立时便为其效力至今。同时他还和巴塔哥尼亚公司的创始人兼CEO伊冯•乔伊纳德合著了一本书,你可能会有兴趣读一下。书名叫《负责任的公司:我们从巴塔哥尼亚公司的头四十年里学到了什么》(The Responsible Company: What We've Learned from Patagonia's First 40 Years)。

"Even in our company, some people are more strongly committed [to protecting the planet] than others," Stanley says. "But we've found that the most skeptical or resistant colleagues eventually get won over by seeing other people stick with it and succeed at making real change."

Stanley suggests tackling the process in these 7 steps:

1. Don't create a bureaucracy.You have a lot on your plate but, by giving you this task on top of your regular job, your boss is following Patagonia's model (inadvertently or not). Stanley says that the greening of the company has been successful in large part because "we wanted the reduction of environmental harm to be part of everyone's job" — rather than give staffers "a reason to make environmental considerations secondary because someone else would handle them."

2. Start with your natural allies."In any company there are always a few people who are already interested, or who are more committed than others to making change happen," notes Stanley. It sounds as if you're one of these, so maybe you know a few others. Once you enlist their help, he says, "you'll find you get more allies as you go along."

3. Quantify the benefits of going green."It's a myth that taking better care of nature is at odds with business excellence, but what if your peers, or higher-ups, believe that? Concentrate first on taking steps that clearly save money," Stanley suggests.

Since you mention that you've already done some of this, what your boss calls "taking it to the next level" probably means moving on to "a second tier of action that takes a bit of investment to pay off long-term, like installing low-flow plumbing fixtures and solar panels, for example," Stanley says. "LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] certification for 'green' buildings has proven conclusively that the investments a company makes in these things does pay off." The nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council has information you can use to build your case, including data on lower operating costs, higher asset values, and eligibility for tax rebates and other financial incentives in hundreds of U.S. Cities.
你在来信中提到,你已经做了一些这类的工作,因此你的老板所说的“推进到下一个层次”,可能意味着“这个层次需要花一些投资,以带来长期效益,比如安装低耗水量的卫生洁具以及太阳能面板等,”斯坦利说。“‘能源与环境设计领袖’体系(LEED)对‘绿色’建筑物的认证,已经确凿地证明,一家公司做出的此类投资的确能收到效益。”非营利性组织美国绿色建筑委员会(U.S. Green Building Council)拥有一些你可以借鉴的信息,包括一些数据,涉及如何进一步降低运营成本、提高资产价值,以及数百个美国城市出台的退税等相关经济刺激措施的信息。

4. Invite coworkers to brainstorm."Organize a get-together with people from all levels of the company and ask them to talk about what environmental impact your company, or your division, has now," Stanley says. "What's the best thing you're doing for the environment now? What's the worst? In this era of social media, what's the biggest environment-related risk to your reputation? What do you do that you would not want to be known for?" The ideas you gather will give you a starting point for the next step.

5. Figure out a list of priorities.To get people on board and keep them interested, a few early wins are crucial, so begin with changes that will be relatively easy to make quickly. "Decide what you'll do first, how much time and money you'll spend on it, and who will be involved," Stanley says. "Define what initial success will look like. Then write that down on one page you can circulate among your team." For each subsequent task, set clear goals and time frames.

6. Share what you learn."If you set up a place to talk about challenges met and solved — especially if you're honest about mistakes and setbacks — it becomes a story people follow," Stanley says. "And if you put something in writing on a blog or a website, it becomes much less abstract and removed. It builds a snowball of support."

At Patagonia, Stanley launched the Footprint Chronicles to track the environmental impact of the company's products and operations, and to report on improvements as they were made. "It started out as something we were doing for our customers," he says. "But it turned out to be popular with employees, and even with suppliers, who started jockeying to be mentioned in it."

7. Keep going.One side benefit of reporting on how your green efforts are going, Stanley notes, is that "talking about the details makes clear that this isn't usually a quick or simple process." But if you stick with it, he adds, "the company will get smarter." In trying to meet environmental targets, "your people will have to pay attention to all the business fundamentals, and this will result in a less wasteful organization. You'll start to spot money leaks you could not see before."

The Responsible Company includes five checklists of exactly where your company might be leaking money right now. The lists, which could spark some useful ideas about where to start your green campaign, are also available on Patagonia's web site. Good luck!

Talkback:Has your company tried to reduce its impact on the planet? What helps get employees engaged in the effort, and what doesn't work so well? Leave a comment below.

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